Comet ISON as seen on 22 September 2012 through a 0.25-m reflector by the Team of observers of Remanzacco Observatory. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
You'll want to keep your eyes glued to the sky in 2013, as astronomers are promising that it will be one bright year. Two comets will be passing through our heavens, and both will be incredibly visible spectacles.
Discovered last year on Sept. 21, 2012 by Russian scientists Vitaly Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, the Comet ISON will be visible in the northern hemisphere in late 2013. ISON will make a close pass by the sun, then sling around to pass Earth. All one has to do is look up to see it - the comet should be noticeable with the naked eye even during the day around late November. At night, ISON is expected to be brighter than the full moon.
ISON's origins are believed to be the Oort Cloud, a sphere of frozen rocks and ice surrounding our solar system around one light-year from the sun.
Scientists have been studying ISON in hopes that the comet can help them understand more about the evolution of our universe.
"In the future, it would be good to have special space vehicles on standby so that they can approach such celestial objects, something that may finally come true given the ongoing development of air navigation," Sergei Smirnov, press secretary of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, said in a Space Daily article.
Earlier in the year, skywatchers in the southern hemisphere can catch Comet Pan-STARRS in the months of January and February. Comet PANSTARRS will be at its brightest around March 2013, when it will be closest to Earth. The comet was discovered back in 2011 by the Pan-STARRS telescope located in Hawaii. PANSTARRS is also believed to have come from the Oort Cloud.
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